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No Stamp of Approval for Post Office Project

Plans for a luxury apartment complex at the site of the Woodland Hills post office have been sent back to the drawing board again – but not before the developer won over a few critics. Developer Amcal Multi-Housing Inc., in Agoura Hills, wants to put 335 units on 4.2 acres at the 22055-22131 Clarendon St. site, which the post office is leaving when its lease expires in 2017. At two earlier meetings of the Planning and Land Use Committee of the Warner Center-Woodland Hills Neighborhood Council, there was strong opposition. But at a follow-up meeting on March 5, revised architectural drawings from Orange County architect Michael Heinrich of Architects Orange won positive feedback from some committee members. “I like the traditional look. It matches most of the homes that were built in the neighborhood in the 1950s and ’60s,” said member Joyce Fletcher at the meeting. Other committee members, including Vice Chairman Martin Lipkin, were less enthusiastic about the 408,000-square-foot project. “These look like overly massive block houses with no visual interest. I will have to look at this project from the freeway, and it’s uninspiring,” he told the developer. Amcal’s vice president, Darin Hansen, agreed to return to the committee for a fourth time with a study on whether some of the units could be designed as live-work spaces. Such units include residential space built over ground-level offices for professionals, such as accountants and architects. Lipkin and other committee members concerned about snarled traffic in Woodland Hills said that if some of the residents could live and work on-site, it would cut down on the number of daily car trips. The U.S. Postal Service has said it plans to find another location in Woodland Hills. NoHo Apartments Put one more mixed-use building in the mix for the bustling NoHo Arts District. Los Angeles developer Micropolitan LLC has plans to build a seven-story luxury apartment building at 11405 Chandler Blvd., one block west of the Metro Red Line and Orange Line stations. Micropolitan has developed mixed-use projects in Santa Monica and Marina del Rey, and is a subsidiary of Los Angeles engineering firm Psomas. The project is being designed by Santa Monica architects Killefer Flammang and will feature 82 units and 1,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, said Micropolitan President Larry Kruger. “This will be a lifestyle building with a lot of outdoor elements on different decks, to provide the residents with the best of outdoor and indoor living,” Kruger said. He noted that another luxury complex in the neighborhood, The Hesby at 5031 Fair Ave., is all leased up. “It speaks well for the North Hollywood market, where a lot of exciting things are happening,” he said. The 308-unit Hesby, also designed by Killefer Flammang, was purchased by Chicago apartment developer Equity Residential last September for $126 million. The proposed development on Chandler Boulevard joins several North Hollywood projects wending their way through the approval process. Retail Revival The first ground-up retail development in the Santa Clarita Valley since the recession is slated to break ground this spring. Developer Ahmad Ghaderi, principal at A&S Engineering, Inc. in Burbank, plans to build The Plaza West Hills on an undeveloped, 7-acre parcel at Copper Hill Drive and Camino Del Arte in Valencia. Already, multiple tenants have signed leases, including Starbucks, Subway and Taco Bell outlets, as well as a gas station and daycare center, according to the project’s retail broker, John Cserkuti, senior vice president in NAI Capital’s Valencia office. Ghaderi bought the property last July for $5.5 million from LNR Property LLC. He has developed gas stations, fast food restaurants and convenience marts throughout Southern California, Arizona and Hawaii, according to his website. The last time a retail center went up in the area was 2008, Cserkuti said, but the pressure has been on since retail vacancy rates are approaching pre-recession levels of 4 percent. Cserkuti expects the first phase of the project, including the gas station and daycare center, to be completed late this year. Staff reporter Karen E. Klein can be reached at (818) 316-3123 or at kklein@sfvbj.com.

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